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Exclusive: Therion Premiere New Album, 'Les Fleurs du Mal'

Swedish metal band Therion are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year, and not in the way most bands do, with a best-of collection or a nostalgia-laden tour. Therion mastermind Christofer Johnsson has decided that now is the right time for the band to release a long-in-the-works art project of an album named for and inspired by the poetry of Charles Baudelaire.

If that sounds like an audacious proposition for a band midway through their third decade, you wouldn't be alone. According to Johnsson, the album, Les Fleurs de Mal (French for "the Flowers of Evil"), was deemed "too controversial for Therion’s label, Nuclear Blast Records, by the final results, so I asked if it was possible to buy back the master tapes of the record and release it on my own label. And after some negotiations, my wish was granted."

While the band will be right back with Nuclear Blast for future releases, Les Fleurs de Mal will finally see physical release tomorrow, November 27, on the band's own End of the Light Records. Fans who caught the band on their "Flowers of Evil" tour may already have a copy of the album, but for those who don't, we've teamed up with Therion to bring you the exclusive premiere of Les Fleurs de Mal. Stream it via the Soundcloud player below.

Les Fleurs de Mal appears to be just the first of several unique projects from the veteran band, who seem to have no lack of ambition after 25 years.

"This is the beginning of a new period that will last for a number of years, where the band will focus on doing certain projects performed by Therion rather than releasing regular albums," says Johnsson of the band's next stage. "In the planning after the art project is a rock opera that is scheduled to take several years to complete."

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Josh Hart is a former web producer and staff writer for Guitar World and Guitar Aficionado magazines (2010–2012). He has since pursued writing fiction under various pseudonyms while exploring the technical underpinnings of journalism, now serving as a senior software engineer for The Seattle Times.